The Life of Coffee: At Cuatro M
At Water Avenue we work to bring you the most delicious, high quality coffee that we can. All of the coffee we sell is grown, processed, shipped, and roasted and brewed with the utmost care. One of the best ways to ensure quality along the supply chain is by developing direct relationships to producers whenever possible. When you see “Farm Direct” written on the label it means that we were able to purchase directly from producers in coffee growing countries. Over the years we have nurtured close working relationships with several coffee producers, and though our coffee menu is always changing, you will hear some familiar names pop up again and again.
One of these names is Cuatro M Coffees in El Salvador, a family business managed by Emilio Lopez Diaz. We first purchased coffee from Cuatro M in 2010, and since then their coffees have become staples of our menu. They own two farms (Finca El Manzano and Finca Ayutepeque) whose harvests are processed at their mill, Beneficio El Manzano. Cuatro M grows, mills, and exports coffees not only from their own farms, but from several other farmers in the region as well. Few coffee farms have their own mill, meaning they must send their coffee to another facility like Beneficio El Manzano before it is exported.
At the mill the coffee can be processed using just about any common processing method. Many mills are only able to produce a single type of coffee, either washed, semi-washed, pulped natural, or natural. Beneficio El Manzano is equipped with everything they need to offer flexibility in milling styles.
As roasters, being able to trace coffee down to the farm level is immensely valuable. It allows us to select the very best coffees available, often specifying which varieties of coffee we desire from farms or regions growing several types. While at some mills a farmer’s lot will be mixed in with other small harvests, Beneficio El Manzano offers the farmers it works with complete traceability throughout the milling process. As ripe coffee fruit is brought into El Manzano, a member of the quality control team takes a sample of the harvest to assess the quality of the fruit. Each truckload is given a grade based on what percentage is underripe, ripe, or overripe, as well as the sugar content of the fruit. At this stage each lot brought to the mill is given an identifying number and entered into a database.
View of Finca El Manzano from Santa Margaritas
By working directly with producers like Cuatro M and visiting their farms and mill annually, our baristas and wholesale team are able to see this process in action, and ensure that the farmers we work with share our commitment to our product, our community, and our environment.
Find our latest offerings from Cuatro M here.